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Google Search Ads Not Converting? It May Not Be Your Ads Nor Landing Page That’s The Problem

Note: Because executing, monitoring, tweaking, analyzing, and reporting on Google Ads campaigns is one of our SEO company’s specialties, we decided to write a number of blog posts on the topic this spring that are more granular, and therefore, provide more detail and really get into the Google Ads weeds! So, enjoy this second post in our Spring 2024 Google Ads series of posts!

Sometimes, it’s hard to hear or accept that there may be challenges with the features/characteristics of the products, services, and solutions you offer. But, if you’ve been checking the “Search Terms” report under Auction Insights in your Google Ads account (and made sure your Google Search ads are being served up to the right “searchers”), your ads are achieving a decent click-thru rate (2.5% or higher), and you’ve followed landing page best practices (outlined in our blog posts about ensuring ad clickers have a smooth landing and about making sure your landing page isn’t too-self serving), then there’s a high probability that website visitors who arrived on your website from online advertising ad clicks just aren’t that interested in your products, services, and solutions.

Obviously, before you reach the above conclusion — that there’s something about your products, services, and solutions that may be turning website visitors off — you need to give your ads appropriate time to “convert.” If there’s a high cost associated with your product, service, or solution, and/or it tends to be a purchase or engagement decision that’s not made lightly/overnight, then you need to wait one or several months to determine whether or not your ads eventually “convert,” and therefore, cause ad clickers to take desirable actions on your website like completing an inquiry form, or reaching out to you by clicking on a hyperlinked e-mail address or phone number.

This is an image of handsome black man in a suit meeting with a pretty white woman. The image is shown to depict a business owner or representative meeting with a client. It is shown in conjunction with our Google Ads experts team explaining how you need to make serve your product features and characteristics appeal to your customers.

Revisiting Product & Service Features and Characteristics

The below list is not meant to be all-inclusive since the number of different products, services, and solutions available to businesses and consumers throughout the world is immeasurable, and there are countless different industries offering products, services, and solutions — each requiring very different product and service specifications, having different features, and meeting very different needs.

Some common product and service features and characteristics that should be considered and revisited to determine if they may be the reason behind website visitors NOT purchasing a product or engaging you for your service — or at least reaching out to your organization to learn more include:

  • Ease of use – how difficult is to use or learn to use product or service?
  • Convenience – how convenient is it to use product or service? Can it only be used in certain places at certain times?
  • Appearance/Look/Feel – of course, opinions about whether or not something is attractive can vary, but, overall, is the product or service something appealing/attractive?
  • Price – does the value or benefit of the product or service warrant what is being charged for it? What are competitors charging for similar products and what makes yours stand out if you’re charging far more? Will prospective clients recognize the “value-add” and be willing to pay for it?
  • Ability to solve target audiences’ problem(s) – does the product or service solve a common problem, or among everyone whose problem it solves, will it accomplish what it needs to accomplish in all/most cases?
  • Portability – can the product or service be used outside your home, town, or state, etc.? Therefore, is it “portable?”
  • Uniqueness – is your product or service different enough from other similar products or services, and unique enough to make the purchaser feel “special?”
  • Durability/Lifespan – how long will the product or service or the effects of it last? Is current pricing warranted given the product or service lifespan?
  • Relevancy – is your product or service in step with current times and your current marketplace, or is it dated or out-of-touch? Have competitors entered your marketplace to offer a more modern or relevant product/service?

Get a refresher on why both “product” and “pricing” are one of the 6P’s of marketing and questions you should be asking yourself about your product or service and associated pricing!

Need A Google Ads Expert To Analyze Why Current Or Past Google Search Campaigns Didn’t Work Or Aren’t Working?

Schedule a complimentary brainstorm with our Search Engine Marketing (SEM) team today using our calendar app or contact us!

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Is Your Advertising Landing Page Too Self-Serving, And Ultimately, Hurting Your Organization?

As a Greater Boston digital marketing agency and SEO company, we’ve implemented and executed countless online and traditional marketing activities to drive traffic to our clients’ websites, particularly online advertising campaigns that include Google Ads search advertising. Since we’ve already outlined in a former blog post what makes for an effective landing page (and what a landing page is to begin with), we won’t repeat that information here. Instead, we want to focus on why what we consider to be a “self-serving” landing page can hurt your organization.

Why You Shouldn’t Make Your Website Landing Page All About You

As we’ve explained in a number of past blog posts, in the marketing and marketing-activity-results-tracking world, a “conversion,” is a desired/desirable action that a website visitor takes on your website. A website visitor conversion could be:

  • Signing up for your e-newsletter
  • Clicking on social media icons that link to your various social media profiles to visit them
  • Completing an inquiry or contact form
  • Clicking on a hyperlinked e-mail address to send you an e-mail
  • Clicking on a hyperlinked phone number to call you
  • Downloading a white paper or a pdf housed on your website
  • Purchasing a product, service, or solution, including tickets to an event
  • Providing an e-mail address, via a gatekeeper type system, in order to download a document housed on your site, or to complete some other activity

We think you get the picture!

A mistake we often see marketers/advertisers make, though, is focusing too hard/much on the actions that THEY want visitors to take on their website, i.e., the actions THEY consider desirable vs. focusing on the actions that visitors may want to take and the tasks they hope and want to complete when they visit a website that offers the products, services, and solutions you do.

What The “Bounce Rate” Can Tell You About Your Landing Page

GA4 Google Analytics allows organizations to view the “engagement rate” for all your website pages and posts, including your landing pages (even if those are hidden from the navigation that the general public sees, and are only used in conjunction with specific marketing activities/campaigns). The inverse of a website page’s engagement rate is known as the “bounce rate,” and that can be calculated by subtracting the engagement rate from 100% (if a page’s engagement rate is 60%, then the bounce rate is 40%).

If a large percentage of visitors “bounce” from a website page or post, it means many prospective customers or customers left your website from that particular page or post without interacting in any way with the page or post (e.g., scrolling down on it, clicking on links/calls-to-actions/call-out buttons contained on it to visit other pages of the site, starting or completing a form contained on the page or post, etc.). The higher the bounce rate is, the less likely the page satisfies the needs of various visitors to complete desired tasks/take beneficial actions on your site — tasks and actions that are of importance to THEM vs. YOU.

How To Lower Your Landing Page Bounce Rate

Granted there will likely be some overlap between the actions A VISITOR might hope and want to take on your site and the ones YOU hope and want them to take on your site, but you and/or your team should go thru the following exercise to make sure your visitors’ needs are met more often than your own, and that they are a priority.

As SEO experts, we’ve shared quite often, including in this blog post about how helpful content impacts SEO/ranking on Google, that Google rewards websites that are helpful and are about what users want and need, not just what the website owner/advertisers want and need. To ensure your visitors have a positive experience and your website is “helpful,” we suggest you do the following:

  • Make a grid, such as the one shown below, that lists all the tasks that you want visitors to complete on your site, as well as the tasks you believe visitors want to complete on your site. Really think hard and try to walk in target audiences’ shoes! Keep in mind that many individuals already receive e-mails from countless organizations on a daily basis, and many are reluctant to have their name added to another e-mail list. They know what will likely follow is a stream of e-mails to sell them the product, service, or solution they were investigating on your website, or ones asking for a donation, etc. Will you cause them to “bounce,” and lose them altogether as a potential customer because you kept certain content “gated,” or your marketing activity took them to a landing page that only allowed them to visit that particular page of your website vs. quickly/easily visit other pages of your site?
  • Review the grid you created and highlight those activities that you believe would be considered desirable/beneficial to both parties, i.e., your organization AND website visitors. Functionality should then be created/installed and included on your landing page to allow for completion of those tasks.
  • Then, review the activities which you believe are more valued by visitors (less preferable to your organization), and consider for which of those actions you’d be willing to provide functionality on your site for visitors to complete them. A great example, is requiring individuals to reach out to schedule an appointment to get pricing information. Even if your pricing is customer-specific/customized, many prospective clients may be reluctant to reach out, particularly if they aren’t in a financial position to invest in your product or service immediately. Think about what/how much downfall there would be to providing visitor functionality to get an estimate/access pricing information, and whether you’d be better off keeping visitors happy and on your website longer, or better off letting them bounce. Only you will know the answer to the aforementioned and the implications of trade-offs.

Ultimately, the more the scale swings in the favor of your website visitor vs. your organization when it comes to desirable action-taking, the more your organization will likely be to succeed at providing a great user experience, ranking better in search engines, and ultimately driving sales from satisfied visitors who were able to obtain the information, and complete the tasks they wanted, without being on the receiving end of what might be perceived as too “hard of a sell” by your organization or a too “self-serving” website.

Get Complimentary Advice On Landing Pages From Online Advertising Experts

Want objective advice on how to set your landing page up so that both your organization and visitors achieve their objectives? Schedule a complimentary online advertising brainstorm with us!

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How Much Should I Spend On Google Ads?

As a digital marketing agency and SEO company specializing in both paid SEO (Google Ads) and organic SEO, we often get asked the question, “how much should I spend on Google Ads?” This isn’t going to be a long blog post because the answer to the above question is a fairly straight-forward one — one that focuses on Google search advertising vs. Google Display advertising, or Google’s hybrid form of advertising, known as Google Performance Max.

How To Set A Google Ads Budget That’s Right For Your Organization

When deciding what $ figure to set your Google Ads Search advertising daily budget to (your budget is set at the campaign level and is entered as a daily amount you’d like Google Ads to spend on your media/ad buy vs. a weekly or monthly amount), you should keep the following in mind:

  • What Size Google Ads Ad Spend Can You Afford To Carry/Cover On Your Credit Card? You will need to provide Google Ads with a credit card that it will debit for your ad spend/ad buy. Normally, your card will be charged once or twice a month to cover the cost of clicks on your ads (you will be paying for ad clicks vs. ad impressions (the serving up of your ads to one set of eyeballs/searcher) that have accrued since the last time Google Ads charged your account.
  • What Is The ROI (return-on-investment) For Your Advertising? As long as the money/revenue you are making from actual product sales or engagements for services generated by your ads outweighs to a decent degree the cost of your advertising and other acquisition-related costs (such as someone’s time processing an order generated by an ad), and you are financially comfortable accruing and covering the associated ad spend, you likely will want to continue running your ads, but also test the results of “upping” your spend. As long as your Google Ads continue to generate a positive ROI, why not keep employing and testing a slightly higher ad spend every 2-3 months?
  • Are There Enough Opportunities For Google To Serve Up Your Ads To Your Target Audience In Your Geography For Relevant Terms? This equates to are enough people who meet your targeting criteria (age, gender, income level, parental status, plus geography), searching on relevant terms in Google? This can be assessed by checking to see if your initial or increased daily budget is being fully used 85% or more of the time — therefore, the total cost shown in your Google Ads account for any particular campaign (charges accrued for ad clicks, which equals the # of ad clicks generated times your average cost-per-click) associated with your advertising for a particular timeframe fairly closely aligns with the budget you set for that timeframe.
  • To What Degree, Will Your Google Ads Cannibalize Your Organic (Unpaid) Search-Engine Traffic? An SEO Rankings Audit and/or a review of your organic search volume and nature, using your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, will help you determine if there are big concerns about your paid ads causing appropriate searchers to not find you as frequently for an organic listing that comes up in search results because search ads are appearing too frequently above organic listings that link to your website or Google My Business Profile. If proper conversion-tracking is set up on your website, you can determine which form of traffic — paid search/Google Ads vs. organic search traffic “converts” better, i.e., causes website visitors to complete meaningful actions on your site, such as e-mailing you, or completing a contact inquiry form. As you continue to increase your budget, keep an eye out for shifts in the degree to which individuals are landing on your site from an organic search. If your organic search traffic converts better than paid search, you may determine a particular ad budget/ad spend doesn’t make economic sense for your organization because you are cannibalizing too much profit-producing organic search traffic, and you may want to decrease your budget, so that your paid ads appear less frequently.

What Google Ads Daily Budget Should I Start Out With?

We recommend that, at a minimum, you launch any brand new Google search advertising campaign with a daily ad spend that equates to $500 a month, so roughly $17.00 a day. If, by employing conversion- tracking, you are able to determine that your Google Ads campaign ROI is positive, then we suggest making small incremental upticks in daily budget spends, as discussed above.

While Google Ads’ keyword planner tool provides an estimate of what the cost-per-click might look like related to a particular search phrase for which you’d like your ads to be served, it is just that — an estimate. Many factors influence your cost-per-click, such as the number of competitors in your marketplace who want their ads served up for the same terms you do, the click-thru rate on your ads, the Google Ads optimization score assigned to your ads, and how cohesive Google views your keywords, ads, and ad website landing page to be.

Does Google Ads Offer Nonprofits Discounted Advertising Pricing?

Well, actually, yes, in a way they do. As we explain in our blog post about the benefits to nonprofits of Google Nonprofit Ad Grants, nonprofit organizations who qualify for such grants are able to employ $120,000 in free annual Google Ads search advertising.

Got Google Ads Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

Our team has roughly 15 years of Google Ads experience — from both corporate marketing, and consulting roles — related to executing, optimizing, analyzing, and reporting on Google Ads search, display, and Performance Max campaigns for nonprofits and for for-profits of all shapes, sizes, and industries. We’d be glad to chat with your organization on a complimentary basis about whether or not we believe Google Ads advertising makes sense for your particular organization.

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How To Know Where To Invest Marketing Energy and Dollars: Push Vs. Pull Marketing

Regardless of whether your organization has a small or large marketing budget and staff, you still want to spend your time and money on marketing judiciously. Who wants to throw either valuable dollars or time out the window, right?

Why not make this the year you ensure you’re maximizing your marketing efforts by revisiting your marketing plans based on the information shared below about what marketing tactics make sense based on available data.

What Is Pull Marketing?

Each marketing expert probably has their own thoughts on what they consider marketing tactics that fall in the “pull” category. But, at our Boston digital marketing agency and Boston SEO company, we think of “pull marketing” tactics as those to be employed if evidence shows that individuals are actively searching to identify someone in your geography who offers the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers.

So how do you know if people are actively searching in the geography you serve for the products, services, and solutions you offer? The best way to ascertain the aforementioned is by conducting keyword research. As we explain in this previous blog post, keyword research helps you identify the average # of monthly Google searches that are conducted on search terms (known as keywords) relevant to your products, services, and solutions. Because of the tools to which you’ll need access and the challenges of figuring out how to structure your research, you’ll likely fare better by hiring an SEO company or a team of SEO experts, like ours, to conduct meaningful and accurate keyword research.

If keyword research does indicate a large volume of individuals are regularly searching to identify an organization like yours, then pull marketing tactics, such as optimizing your website to be found on Google via organic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and/or paid search tactics (think Google Ads) make great marketing sense. You’ll still need to have an effective website (one with appropriate calls-to-actions and that provides for a strong user experience) to cause site visitors to take desired actions on your site (convert), but the two aforementioned tactics should definitely cause individuals who are “warm leads,” i.e., likely interested in your products because they are actively searching, to visit your website.

What Is Push Marketing?

We always like to say “push marketing” is about the putting the idea in the heads of individuals and organizations who might be a good fit for the product, service, or solution you offer. Push marketing tactics are all about serving up/providing information about your products or services to individuals who, based on various demographics and characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, job/career/industry, etc., might likely be interested in buying your product or engaging you for your service.

Examples of both digital and traditional push marketing tactics include: display advertising (both social media advertising and Google display advertising), banner advertising (ad purchased on a website that serves individuals and orgs. who might be a good fit for your product), and print advertising in a newspaper or magazine. The aforementioned list is not exclusive, but we think you get the picture.

So, when is push marketing warranted? Push marketing makes great sense if keyword research indicates that individuals aren’t actively searching in your geography to identify someone like your organization. Particularly when a product or service offered is a brand new one that your target audiences are not likely familiar with/don’t know exist, then focusing on executing effective push marketing tactics will be the most efficient use of your marketing time and dollars.

When To Employ Both Push and Pull Marketing

Organizations with particularly large marketing budgets and teams tend to employ both push and pull marketing tactics, and therefore, both pursue people that are “warmer” leads for their products and services, i.e., those who are actively searching AND people who are less warm but still might be a good fit for their products and services. A key reason they may employ both push and pull marketing tactics is that pull alone doesn’t bring in the volume of leads and sales they need to meet their sales objectives.

For smaller organizations who have fewer in-house individuals devoted to marketing and a limited marketing budget, the majority of marketing dollars and time should definitely be earmarked for the type of tactics — push vs. pull — that make the most sense for the organization, based on what keyword research and any other appropriate available data indicates. But, it’s likely still worth investing a small amount of time and dollars in push marketing tactics, like Google Display or Instagram/Facebook advertising, just to see what such tactics yield in results.

Our Team Of Marketing Experts And SEO Experts Is Here To Help

We always say our Boston SEO company and Boston digital marketing agency “never encourages clients or prospective clients to continue with or start with a marketing tactic that doesn’t make sense for them.” In fact, our company’s tagline since we launched our marketing agency in 2014 has been “maximizing results thru research-supported marketing.” We’ll never suggest a client employ a particular tactic, based on whether or not we offer a service related to it. If we don’t offer a marketing service from which research indicates a client would benefit, we’ll refer the work to a one of our fellow marketing collaborators. But, the very first step is holding a complimentary discussion to learn about your particular organization’s marketing challenges and opportunities, so please use our calendar app to select a convenient day and time for you if you’d like to chat!

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Is Your Website Holidays-SEO-Ready?

2023 Holiday Season Marketing Update

Update: While the content below was originally written in and related to 2022, the message of this post is still very relevant to 2023 and the 2023 holiday shopping season. As we expressed in a previous blog post, if you’re an organization that offers experiences that can either be enjoyed as part of a holiday activity/event one participates in with family or friends and/or an organization who offers experiences that could be given as a gift — experiential gifts/experience presents continue to be quite hot — make sure you capitalize on that by including “things to do” and “experience gift” type terms in your website content. Need a list of experience-related terms to include? Reach out and we’ll share one with you!

2022 SEO Planning to Capitalize On Holiday Shopping

Where did 2022 go? It’s hard to believe it’s late October, and that means that consumers are already starting their holiday shopping. Regardless of whether your target audiences are shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, or some other holiday celebrated towards the end of the calendar year, it would be a huge marketing mistake to not capitalize on the year-end uptick in online shopping by making sure your website ranks as well as possible for terms related to it.

While the focus of this post is related to retail, e-commerce, and B2C organizations offering physical products, as you read thru it, you’ll see there are applications for organizations trying to sell services, tickets to events, or even looking for someone to make a donation to their non-profit organization as a gift to someone else.

SEO Tactics For The Holidays

Below are both easy, and more time-consuming/complex SEO tasks your organization should complete by early November to support having a successful holiday sales season.

  • Conduct keyword research to determine the search phrases your target audiences are using most related to holiday shopping or holiday gift giving. If you don’t have access to a keyword planning/research tool, reach out and we will share holiday-shopping-related keyword research with you that we already conducted for FREE (a more extensive list than what we share further on in our post.) That’s our holiday gift to you!
  • Incorporate high-volume keywords (search terms) that are relevant to your target audience in:
    • the public-facing content found on a holiday-related landing page (if you plan to have specials/sales/discounts or want to promote certain items that make great holiday gifts) and/or incorporate such terms on existing product-specific pages.
    • website product and landing page headers (H1 and H2), as appropriate.
    • page title tags, particularly if you have a distinct landing page or several such pages for holiday shopping and specials.
  • Use structured data to support your products appearing at the top of Google search results when someone searches on a very specific product need like “yellow pocketbook.” As a result of the aforementioned fall 2022 algorithm change, use of Google “Shopping ads,” a Google Merchant Center Account and/or Google Surfaces is no longer mandatory to have your products shown to individuals who are shopping. This article details Google’s reason for making the change and where your product information may appear when you properly use “structured data.”

The above task/tactic may be a more complicated and difficult one for your organization and may require your website developer’s help. You can learn more about structured data (also known as “schema markup”) via these resources:

Google Search Podcast

Crowdcontent.com

How To Incorporate High-volume Holiday-Shopping Keywords In Your Website Content

Recent holiday-shopping keyword research we conducted indicated the following as being among some of the highest-volume search terms used related to holiday shopping or gift shopping, in general (the number shown represents the average # of monthly searches in Google for that term):

  • gifts for men – 301,000
  • gifts for mom – 201,000
  • gifts for dad – 135,000
  • gifts for women – 135,000
  • Christmas gifts for mom – 90500
  • Gifting ideas for men – 90500
  • mens gifts ideas – 90500
  • gift ideas for women – 90500
  • mom Christmas gifts – 90500
  • women’s gifts ideas – 90500
  • women’s gifts for men – 74000
  • Christmas gifts for men – 74000
  • Gifts for mens Christmas – 74000
  • Christmas gifts for dad – 49500
  • Gifts for girlfriends – 49500
  • Christmas gifts for boyfriend – 40500
  • Christmas gifts for womens – 40500
  • Gifts for womens Christmas – 40500
  • Gifts for wife Christmas – 33100
  • Best Men gifts – 33100
  • Gift ideas for mom – 33100
  • Husbands gifts – 33100
  • Unique gifts – 33100
  • Best Christmas gifts 2021 (note you can use this phrase but change to 2022) – 33100
  • Gift for Christmas for wife – 33100
  • Unique gifts for men — 27100
  • Christmas gift idea for her — 27100
  • Christmas gifts for a girlfriend — 27100
  • Christmas gift ideas for her — 27100
  • Best gifts for men 2021 (change to 2022) — 27100
  • Best gifts for women 2021 (change to 2022) — 27100
  • Christmas Gifts 2021 (change to 2022) — 27100
  • Christmas gf gifts (change to 2022) (reminder people use acronyms like bff, bf in searches) — 27100
  • Gift ideas for boyfriend – 22200
  • Gift ideas for dad – 22200
  • Best gifts for mom – 22200
  • Top gifts for guys – 22200
  • Best gifts for moms – 22200
  • Secret santa gift ideas – 22200
  • Fun gift – 22200
  • Ideas gift boyfriend – 22200
  • Christmas gift teenagers – 22200
  • Gifts for husbands Christmas — 18000
  • Best gifts for dad — 18000
  • Best gifts for dads — 18000
  • Gift ideas for girlfriend — 18000
  • Unique gifts for women — 18000
  • Christmas gift ideas for mom — 14800
  • Ideas for mens stocking stuffers — 14800
  • Good gifts for mom—14800
  • Gift ideas for wife — 14800
  • Christmas gift ideas for moms — 14800
  • Unique Christmas gifts — 14800
  • Secret santa gifts — 14800
  • Mom’s Christmas gift ideas — 14800
  • Christmas gifts to her — 14800
  • Christmas gift ideas for him — 12100
  • Cool guys gifts — 12100
  • Cool gifts for guys — 12100
  • Presents for mom — 12100
  • Gifts for mother — 12100
  • Women best gift — 12100
  • Best gifts for women — 12100
  • Gadgets for men — 12100
  • Cool Christmas gift — 12100
  • Christmas fun gift — 12100
  • Christmas gift ideas 2021 (change to 2022) — 12100
  • Best gift 2021 (change to 2022) — 12100
  • Gift ideas him Christmas — 12100

As mentioned above, we are glad to provide a much more extensive list of holiday shopping terms and their associated average monthly searches in Google. You can e-mail us at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com to have the list sent to you. As we share all the time with our new SEO clients and attendees of our SEO classes, and as we did in this previous blog post, keyword research can also help you identify new products, services or solutions you should offer.

As alluded to above, be sure to use the term 2022 once or several times related to holiday shopping, and also be sure to include terms for non-Christmas holidays that are celebrated in December. Plus, think about what acronyms or abbreviations someone might use related to a loved, such as “bff” for “best friends forever.”

Before you begin incorporating high-volume keywords in your content, think about whom would most likely be the recipient of a gift of your product, services, event or class tickets, or a donation, and use terms that the searcher of your product or service might use. Let’s say you offer hand-made jewelry for women, you’d want your site to rank well for terms above like “Christmas gifts to her”  and “Christmas gifts for mom” and should incorporate such or similar terms in your website content. 

We’re Here To Help You Rank Well For Holiday Shopping Search Terms

Got questions or need our help. Reach out today as holiday shopping has already begun!

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Growing Your Nonprofit With A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant

Knowing that I and my Boston-area digital marketing agency team help clients obtain, maintain, and optimize Google Nonprofit Ad Grants, a few weeks ago a fellow digital marketing consultant asked me if I ever had a client utilize the entire $120,000 in free Google Ads search advertising available thru the Grant. While I knew generally that a few of our nonprofit (NPO) clients who offered products and services across all of the U.S. (vs. in a smaller city/town or state geography) were able to really capitalize on the free advertising $/media buy available annually via their Grant, it prompted me to both dig deeper on what % of their Grant dollars were being used, and to detail in this blog post, the various ways our marketing agency’s Google Ad Grant clients have used their search-advertising funds.

I hope that, by documenting here the types of nonprofits we’ve worked with who have obtained a Grant and successfully employed Google Nonprofit Grant monies, I might inspire other NPOs to either apply for a Google Grant, or use their Google Ads Grant differently or better to maximize it.

What Types Of Nonprofits Qualify For A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant

Let’s start with the types of nonprofit organizations we’ve helped obtain and/or capitalize on their Google Nonprofit Ad Grant:

  • religious organizations
  • organizations that offer training programs/coaching to at-risk women/women in-transition
  • organizations serving those with special needs and/or disability
  • organizations that serve financially challenged/at-risk teens in both the U.S. and abroad
  • arts organizations
  • environmental organizations

Most non-profits who apply for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant will qualify for one unless they are a government agency/entity, a healthcare provider like a hospital, or an education institution (philanthropic arms of colleges and universities may qualify for a grant). We’d be glad to coach you thru the Google Nonprofit Ad Grant application process. The initial part is pretty simple, and starts with applying for a Google Nonprofit Account and joining Tech Soup if you haven’t done so already. But, you do need to know how to set up a campaign that effectively meets certain Google Nonprofit Ad Grant search advertising requirements, including using certain available advertising features.

Does Anyone Ever Use Their Entire Annual Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Funds?

The answer to the above is likely “yes,” or close to it. As alluded to above, the broader the geographic area in which a nonprofit offers support, services, and products, the more likely they are going to be able to employ much of the available monthly $10,000 in free paid search advertising, particularly if the volume of individuals searching on terms relevant to what the nonprofit offers is significant.

We just conducted an audit of several of our Google Nonprofit Ad Grant clients who are able to offer all or some of their products and services across the whole U.S. All three of them sell products and services that are available for purchase by anyone in the U.S. For example, one sells mass cards to fund the great work they do; another sells curriculum and online training programs; a couple have online gift stores whose sales allow them to provide the services they do to constituents. One client will likely use 70% of their annual Google Ad Grant dollars ($120,000) by year’s end; another about one-third; and another, about one-third. It’s not easy to properly and effectively employ those large search advertising budgets, but it shows it is possible! And, of course, we’d be glad to brainstorm with you to come up with creative ideas for optimizing Grant dollars.

A Happy Google Nonprofit Ads Grant Optimizer

How Can I Use My Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Dollars?

Many of our Google Nonprofit Ad Grant clients are using their Google Grant in a number of simultaneous ways, including the following:

  • Drive sales of products, therefore, tangible goods, such as those available in an online store/shop that fund their good work in our communities
  • Cause use of the organization’s on-site services or online/virtual services
  • Recruit volunteers for their organization
  • Through general/branding messaging, create awareness of their organization among appropriate audiences in an attempt to secure donations (keep in mind that ads specifically asking for donations aren’t effective; but letting individuals and orgs. that are interested in your cause know about you can be effective with development efforts)
  • Support attendance at paid or free events, including webinars, seminars, workshops, courses, and classes
  • Cause target audiences to visit/read/use resources/information on their site, or download information
  • Cause appropriate individuals to fundraise on the organization’s behalf/participate in the organization’s fundraiser
  • Cause target audiences to be an advocate for the organization’s cause or the general/broader cause with which the organization is associated
  • Cause other desired “conversions,” i.e., desired behaviors, such as:
    • e-mail/e-newsletter sign-up
    • podcast listening
    • visits to organization’s physical site for a variety of reasons
    • survey taking

We think Google Nonprofit Ad Grants are a well-kept secret and are often under-utilized by nonprofits — either because they don’t apply for and employ one to see if it will work for them, or they obtain one and don’t use it for the many purposes they could or should.

As an affiliate member of the MA Nonprofit Network, the team at Results C & R gets great satisfaction from helping nonprofit organizations obtain and maximize their Google Advertising Grant to support achievement of a variety of objectives. Want to learn more? Set up a complimentary time to chat today! And, check out these two additional resources:

Watch A Video About A Google Nonprofit Success Story.

Read More About The Benefits Of A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant.

Being Found on Google, digital blueprint, Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, keywords, landing page, landing pages, marketing best practices, ongoing digital audits, online advertising, online presence, paid search, pull marketing, Search Engine Optimization, search terms, SEM, SEO, staying current, target audiences, Target Marketing, website

Spring Clean Your Online Presence To Support Sales and SEO – Part II

A JOINT BLOG POST BY GAIL SNOW MORASKI AND RYAN BRUDER

Our first blog post in this two-part series focused on capitalizing on “spring cleaning” inclinations to tune-up your website and your social media presence. The purpose of this second post is to remind readers who run any kind of online ads — whether they be Google Ads (also known as search ads/search marketing), social media ads, or banner ads purchased directly from another external website — to revisit them and give them a thorough look-over if you haven’t done so in a while.

Since SEM (search engine marketing) is one of our digital marketing agency’s specialties, the focus of this piece will be on Google Ads, but many of reminders can be applied to other forms of online advertising.

Optimizing Your Google Ads (Paid SEO/SEM) To Improve Performance And Maximize Budget

Often clients will engage our SEO company to analyze either current or past Google Ads campaigns to see what they could or should be doing differently or better. Or, to assume management of existing Google Ads campaigns. Because we are data geeks, we love getting under the hood of a Google Ads account — whether it be a paid account used by a for-profit organization, or a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant account that provides qualifiying non-profit organizations with $120,000 in free annual Google search advertising.

Elements of campaigns and associated ad groups within a Google Ads account that we review related to the above engagements that you should too, as part of spring cleaning your Google Ads, include:

  1. KEYWORDS — what terms have you indicated to Google are ones for which you want your ads shown and are these all still appropriate? Are there keywords you should remove? Are there keywords you should add?
  2. SEARCH TERMS — related to the above keyword element, what search terms (actual phrases that ad clickers put into Google’s search engine) have your ads actually been presented to searchers for, and are they the right ones? The “search terms report,” accessed via the keywords section of a Google Ads ad group, allows you to see the exact terms for which your ads are being shown. Are the terms appropriate? Should some of these terms be made “negative” keywords, i.e., terms for which you don’t want your ads to be shown?
  3. RECOMMENDATIONS — as shown in the printscreen at the bottom of this elements list, Google makes regular recommendations — via a recommendations report — regarding steps you can take to “optimize” your campaign, and therefore, improve click-thru rate, and reduce your cost-per-click. Types of recommendations we see Google regularly make include: removing redundant keywords (keywords that are very similar in nature) from ad groups, adding certain types of ad extensions (such as structured snippets or call-outs), adding conversion-tracking, and using responsive search ads, along with standard text ads you already have in place. Not just as part of your spring cleaning, but each and every type you log into your Google Ads account to check on campaign performance, you should review the various recommendations, and apply the ones that you think make sense for your account.
  4. SETTINGS — settings are assigned at the campaign level and allow for you to target specific geographies and set daily budgets, as well as other specifics about your campaign. At a minimum, as part of your sprng review, you should revisit your daily budget and the geography to see if they are still appropriate to the products, services, or solutions you are promoting via your ads.
  5. AD CONTENT AND LANDING PAGES — if you haven’t checked your Google Ads campaigns in a while, you may even be running ads that land ad clickers on pages that promote either events that have already passed, such as a fundaising one, or products and services that are seasonal in nature and no longer apppropriate ones to be promoting due to the time of year. As you conduct your spring review, be sure that the products, services, and solutions are still the right ones for your organization to be promoting, regardless of whether you are paying for ad clicks, or getting them free via your Google Nonprofit Ad Grant. Also, revisit what makes for an effective landing page, and consider making any appropriate tweaks to current ad landing pages.
  6. COST-PER-CLICK — as part of your review, give great thought to the cost-per-click associated with each of your active vs. paused ad groups. Does the profit you’d make from an actual sale to an ad clicker warrant the cost-per-click — therefore, what is the acquisition cost (this may be include other factors beyond the ad cost-per-click) associated with obtaining a new customer and does it make good sense from a profitability standpoint?
  7. CLICKS — this is likely stating the obvious, but if your ads aren’t generating a decent volume of clicks, therefore, visits to your website, does it make sense to continue to run certain campaigns, or certain ad groups within campaigns?

Google Ads Manager Dashboard

We know that Google Ads advertising, and other forms of online advertising, can be complex and confusing. If you are concerned that your campaigns aren’t set up right to maximize clicks, conversions (ad clickers taking desired actions on your website), and your advertising budget, reach out to us for a complimentary discussion or for us to undertake online advertising spring cleaning on your behalf.

COVID-19 marketing, fundraising/development, Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, landing page, online advertising, paid search, pandemic marketing, Post-COVID-19 Marketing, pull marketing, sales, SEM, Uncategorized

Should You Be Running Google Ads Search Advertising During Our Pandemic?

The answer to the headline above is “it all depends.”

Based on the current Google Ads campaigns I’m running for clients, it appears that average cost-per-clicks, in general, have decreased a fair amount during our pandemic. That means the price an advertiser will pay each time someone clicks on their ad and arrives at their website landing page is less than what it would have been pre-pandemic. So, who should be investing in Google Ads (also known as paid search, pay-per-click (PPC), or search engine marketing (SEM)) right now?

Organizations Should Be Investing In Google Ads Right Now If:

  1. non-extravagant consumer goods products that can be shipped/delivered
  2. moderately priced services that can be accessed virtually/online, such as the ability to take a class or be coached virtually
  3. services and products that are a necessity, despite their cost. Examples of this would be services to repair a plumbing issue or a leaky roof or a new washing machine to replace one that broke
  • you offer a product or service that has a lengthy sales lead time, i.e., target audiences — whether they be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) — tend to conduct a lot of research and take a number of weeks or months to make a decision to make a purchase of said product or service. Many individuals have more free time on their hands right now because of freed-up work commuting time and a significantly reduced number of social engagements. So, if they have a large future purchase in mind, it’s highly likely they are gathering information related to their probable purchase now. Examples of purchases with long lead time could be project management software or systems to be used by an employer or elective surgery to replace a hip.
  • you’re a nonprofit seeking donations to support your efforts to adapt or continue to offer services during COVID-19. Whether you have a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant under which you can execute such advertising, or you’ll need to pay for your own advertising, with the lower average cost-per-click we’re witnessing, Google Ads may be a very cost-effective fundraising tactic.

Be forewarned that the price of Google Ads and other forms of pay-per-click advertising, such as social media advertising, is expected to rise again — and perhaps rapidly — post-pandemic because of pent-up demand by organizations to promote their products or services. That’s why if you meet one of the requirements above and you’ve always wanted to test the “paid search” waters but believed the media (advertising buy) cost would be prohibitive, you might want to consider implementing a Google Ads campaign as soon as possible vs. waiting until things seem back to normal (or as close to normal as is achievable in 2020).

Need Help With SEO or SEM (Google Ads) Or Applying For A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant? Our SEO Experts Are Here To Help!

We are trying to “give back” as much as possible during these challenging times. We are glad to help any non-profit organization apply for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant for free. We’re also offering the following special. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your pandemic or post-pandemic marketing challenges and opportunities. It’s never to early to start planning!

Being Found on Google, fundraising/development, Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, keywords, landing page, landing pages, Nonprofit Marketing & Communications, online advertising, organic SEO, paid search, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, SEO, target audiences, website

Capitalizing on Now-Even-More-Effective Free Advertising From Google

I considered titling this piece, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Recent Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Changes”, but ultimately, I believe the revisions will cause non-profit Grant recipients to achieve better ad campaign results. So, really, it’s all good.

If you’re not familiar with the Grant Program, whether you’re responsible for creating awareness or causing service use among populations you serve – or for growing donations or volunteers – you may be missing out on a free, extremely-effective means of accomplishing these objectives. Incredibly, Google awards non-profit organizations world-wide, who meet its eligibility requirements, with $120,000 in FREE annual Google Adwords (now known as Google Ads) “search” advertising. And, the advertising Grant is indefinite and simply requires recipients to complete an annual survey.

Based on my own and other marketing experts’ experiences, Grants ARE being regularly awarded to eligible non-profits who follow the slightly complex application procedures – Grants aren’t unicorns or pipedreams! You can learn more about minimum eligibility requirements at https://www.google.com/grants/.

The type of advertising awarded is “text” vs. “image.”  Ads appear at the top or bottom of Google search engine results pages when an individual enters terms relevant to a non-profit’s services and mission in the search engine. In the case below, ads are being presented to searchers entering terms such as “help coping with sudden illness.”

Ad Grants sample ad

HOW YOU’LL BENEFIT FROM 2018 GOOGLE NONPROFIT AD GRANT PROGRAM CHANGES

While the $ amount associated with the annual advertising budget awarded remains the same, Google made a significant policy change to make 2018 Grants more valuable. With Google AdWords, advertisers bid against each other to have their text ads shown for terms they believe their audiences will be searching on, known as “keywords.” Grant recipients used to be restricted by how much they could bid to have their ads shown for desirable keywords, which often meant that for-profit or non-profit organizations with deeper financial pockets had their ads shown far more frequently than Grant recipients’. The great news is that the cap has been removed related to how much a non-profit can bid, using their free advertising $ pool.

WHY YOU’LL NEED AN IN-HOUSE OR EXTERNAL GOOGLE ADS EXPERT

While Google has made it easier for non-profits to have their ads shown more often to appropriate “searchers”, to take advantage of this opportunity, Grant recipients now must:

  • Achieve a minimum of a 5% click-thru rate on their ads, i.e., at least 5% of the individuals to whom a Grant recipient presents ads must click on the ad to land on the recipient’s website.
  • Use more advanced AdWords features and results tracking, such as “site links” (links that appear below ad copy that reference and point to unique Grant recipient website pages) and conversion tracking that tallies when desired outcomes, such as clicking on a certain link within a page, occurs.
  • Complete additional Grant application steps, such as registering with TechSoup.

Why Does Maximizing Your Grant Require A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Expert?

Awardees must have a staff member or engage a marketing consultant who:

  • knows the “ins and outs” of Google AdWords (now known as Google Ads) and how to employ and optimize advanced features and tracking
  • can both interpret the Grant application process and has the capacity to deal with some of the hiccups that will likely occur

As alluded to in my intro, despite recent Grant changes, I believe using expert staff or consultant time to apply for and maintain a Grant will still render a very positive ROI. Given that ad click-thru costs often range from $0.30 – $5.00, a $120,000 budget goes a long way toward creating awareness or causing other desired outcomes such as service use, and event ticket sales. Thus, ongoing, annual financial benefits should far outweigh the costs associated with obtaining and effectively employing a Grant.